Karen J. Foli, MSN, PhD, RN, FAAN


BSN, Indiana State University
MSN, Indiana University
PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign


An award-winning researcher, author, and educator, Dr. Foli impacts the nursing profession by generating theory used to guide patient care and support nurses’ well-being. A common theme in Dr. Foli’s work is trauma-informed care for non-traditional families and nurses working at the bedside. Published in top tier nursing and interdisciplinary journals, Dr. Foli’s work has uncovered adoptive parents’ trajectories of depressive symptoms prior to and after placement of a child. Her book, Nursing Care of Adoption and Kinship Families: A Clinical Guide for Advanced Practice Nurses, won the 2018 American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Media. As a nurse theorist, Dr. Foli conceptualized and disseminated a middle-range theory related to parental post-adoption depression.

A second theory, the middle-range theory of nurses’ psychological trauma, was the basis of her 2019 keynote address to Kaiser Permanente/University of San Francisco Illumination Symposium. Dr. Foli’s book, The Influence of Psychological Trauma in Nursing, published with co-author, John Thompson, MD, received two first-place awards (psychiatric nursing and nursing education) in the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award Program. These awards represent excellence in nursing and healthcare books published in 2019.

Dr. Foli has received external funding through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, and various foundations. This support has funded Dr. Foli’s quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies related to adoptive/kinship mental health, psychological nurse-specific trauma, and substance use in registered nurses. She is currently collaborating with consultants from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to examine substance use in nurse anesthetists, a known high-risk group.

Dr. Foli is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN), a 2015 recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and in 2018, was listed in the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers.


In the News

Area(s) of Specialization

Psychological Trauma in Nursing

Nursing Theory

Substance Use in Registered Nurses

Adoptive and Kinship Families’ Well-Being

Nursing Education/Simulation/Service Learning

Current CV (PDF)

Foli, Karen J.
Associate Professor

Phone: 765-494-4023
Office: JNSN 234
E-mail: kfoli@purdue.edu

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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